Senior Madison Appel lost what would have been her 100th collegiate doubles win Sunday as IU let the doubles point slip away to Maryland on Senior Day. Trailing early, the Hoosiers went to work in singles and never looked back.
“After the doubles, I told them that everybody has to take care of their court,” IU Head Coach Ramiro Azcui said. “I think everyone did that and stepped in and contributed any way they could. Losing the doubles point was crucial, but for them to bounce back and get 6 wins like that is tremendous.”
Appel redeemed herself with a 6-2, 6-1 win at No. 1 singles to close out her career on IU’s courts and to tie the match at one apiece.
Sophomore Jelly Bozovic joined Appel, her No. 1 doubles partner, with a straight sets singles win of her own at No. 4. Moments later, senior Natalie Whalen brought IU within a point of clinching the match with a 6-4, 6-1 win at No. 2 singles.
“What a way to finish their careers here at Indiana,” Azcui said of Appel and Whalen. “For them to get wins on their last match here on a day like this where a lot of people showed up, even on Easter Sunday, I give them a lot of credit because that’s who they are and they’re why people showed up.”
Junior Caitlin Bernard and sophomore Michelle McKamey each picked up wins via third-set tiebreakers as IU edged out Maryland 6-1 in the lone women’s match played at the IU Tennis Center's outdoor courts this season.
A day earlier, IU challenged Rutgers inside the facility to start the weekend. The Scarlet Knights made quick work of McKamey and freshman Somer Henry at No. 3 doubles, but the Hoosiers captured 6-3 wins at No. 1 and 2 to take the 1-0 lead.
Straight sets wins from McKamey and Whalen brought IU’s lead to 3-0 and put pressure on Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights responded with wins at No. 3 and 4 singles, but Appel came back to win 3-6, 6-2, 6-4 and seal the match for the Hoosiers. Henry’s win made it a 5-2 victory for IU.
With the final weekend of the regular season behind them, the Hoosiers now look to next week’s Big Ten Tournament in Lincoln, Nebraska. IU, 16-10 overall, is in a three-way tie for sixth place in the Big Ten standings. At 6-5 in conference play, IU is is joined by Michigan State and Minnesota.
“We want to take care of things one match at a time,” Azcui said of the Big Ten Tournament. “This tournament is wide open and we have the motivation to go out and do anything.
This is IU’s first time finishing the regular season over .500 in the Big Ten since 2015, the season before Appel and Whalen came to Bloomington to play tennis. IU is pited at the No. 7 seed for the conference tournament where it'll meet No. 10-seeded Iowa, a school it lost to 4-3 on the road March 31.
Tournament plays begins Thursday from the Sid and Hazel Dillon Tennis Center in Lincoln.
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